Pew Internet & American Life announces that

“gamification has emerged as a way to describe interactive online design that plays on people’s competitive instincts and often incorporates the use of rewards to drive action”. “The use of game mechanics, feedback loops, and rewards will become more embedded in daily life by 2020”

What does this have to do with your health?

Good question!  One that game developers, researchers and healthcare providers have been working on for patient education and health marketing objectives.  The Games for Health Conference, the most expansive conference for videogames, health and healthcare will take place in Boston.

Games under development include:

  • physical therapy
  • health behavior modification
  • Biofeedback
  • Nutrition improvement
  • Health education
  • Exercise program

These games are all designed for not only education but also patient interaction with rewards for health compliance including wellness and preventative care.  Gaming involving weight loss, smoking cessation, exercise or other habit improvements give risk rewards and engage prospective patients and community members.  Patients may utilize games to maintain proper medication protocols, weight reduction and blood pressure or blood sugar levels.  Points can then be redeemed.

Insurance companies have already been toying with risk-rewards of similar nature by awarding patients lower annual premiums for their health insurance or premium points that they can redeem for products and services of their choice when blood pressure, weight or blood sugar is kept under control.

According to JAMA (the Journal of the AMA):

“Games are a dominant form of media, even larger than the motion picture industry, and are enjoyed across gender, age and cultural boundaries.”

Because the majority of our American culture now reflects a love of web surfing, computer games and internet, this modality offers a great way to connect with patients and make healthcare fun.  If the reward of improved health itself  is not enough, then let’s make achieving health one big engaging, reward- filled game.

Everyone wins!